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Swapping the black ink on the Epson 7600 and 9600

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Swapping the black ink on the Epson 7600 and 9600

Save ink on the ‘official method’ Photo to Matte or Matte to Photo

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This procedure should be used with care!

The unofficial black ink change technique for the Epson SP9600 and SP7600

When we swapped the black ink on our Epson 9600 from Photo Black to Matt Black (Pk to Mk) we used this method to reduce the amount of ink used up.

Epsons latest printers manage the swap automatically, so you don’t need to do this. However, there are a lot of old printers around, often available at bargain prices.

black ink swap

Swapping black inks on an 7600/9600

This method was first suggested by Rudiger Schafer on the Epson wideformat list (hence the oft mentioned ‘South African’ method).

There were a couple of minor errors in the menu selection section (note corrections)

When it comes to photo/matte black carts, the following method allows the change without draining the printer (e.g. matte black installed and you want to change to photo black).

We’ve recently added a similar technique to our 7800/9800 ink change page and 7880 / 9880 Black ink swap

  • Start
  • Printer is switched off.
  • Raise the ink lever.
  • Replace the matte black with the photo black cart
  • But, leave the ink lever raised
  • Go into Maintenance Mode 2 by switching the power ON while pushing the ‘Paper source’, ‘Cut/Eject’, and ‘Paper Feed down’ buttons.
  • Press the ‘Paper Feed down’ button until you see “SERVICE CONFIG” on the display – press “Enter” button (Should be ‘SelecType’ – KC)
  • Press the ‘Paper Feed down’ button until you see “NPD” – press “Enter” (Should be ‘SelecType’ – KC)
  • There are 3 possible settings for NPD:
    0 – no ink check
    1 – pigmented ink (there should be a star “*” at this setting)
    2 – dye inks
  • change NPD setting to ‘0’ (no ink check) and press “Enter” – a star should show now next to the ‘0’
  • Switch the printer off.
  • Switch the printer on.
  • Lower the ink lever.
  • Printer and driver shows photo black.
  • Print a solid black block (any cheap paper will do) until the matte black ink in the tubing is all used up (Typically 3 feet of printing (44″) on the 9600)
  • The amount required to purge the old black depends on your printer.
  • The SP7600 uses about 10-12ml of ink before the tube is flushed out.
  • Printing a solid black image of 23″x40″ should suffice When you look at the finished print you see that 2/3 is matte ink as it looks dark and the rest of the print looks a little dull with Pk ink on matt paper. The system is now charged with photo black.
  • The SP9600 uses about 20-22ml of ink. The black image is 43″x40″.
  • You can follow the original discussion thread on the list at

If you consider that an ink change the ‘official way’ wastes this much ink for all colours, you can see why there is such a huge saving.

If we had one major complaint about the 9600 here at Northlight, it would be the amount of ink wasted if you want to change black inks.

If you’ve wondered what over a hundred pounds worth of waste ink looks like – see here :-)

Note — On out 9600 we printed four 40″x10″ solid black rectangles on cheap matt paper to purge the black line. The first 3 were a dark black and the third much lighter as the Photo black ink was used.

Some have said that you need to reinstall the Epson driver on Macs after doing the change – if you are using a Mac and get ‘COMMAND ERROR’ on the display, and blinking ink cart lights, then a reinstall might be tried.

As with any Epson printer driver installation on Mac OSX, it’s best to run a permissions fix (using the disk utility in Utilities) afterwards. A lot of the drivers for older printers incorectly set file permissions. As general Mac ‘housekeeping’ it’s good to do a permissions repair before and after and new software installation anyway.

Cleaning dried ink

You really only need to check out the household products line at your local supermarket ;-)

I’ve written a short guide about ‘cleaning inkjet printers

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